Ron Press anclondon at gn.apc.org
Wed Jul 5 21:45:54 MDT 1995

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From: Scott Marshall <Scott at rednet.org>
Subject: democratic centralism

 (BTW, at least formally so does the SACP and I see no
contradictions in saying that and saying that they allow memebers
to take different positions in mass organizations. What I would
like to study is how often that happens in real life on substative

>From 1950 up till the release of Mandela the SACP was illegal. I
joined in 1955. Up till about 1970-80 I knew very few people as
communists. I worked in many organisations such as ther ANC,
SACTU, the AAM, and others. From 1980 onwards I gor to know
perhaps about 20 members by inference or by direct information.

Especially in the SACTU NEC I attended many meetings and partook
in many discussions. We had many fights and differences of

A bit later I attended an extended meeting of the SACP PB. In this
meeting what struck me was that in the NEC many of us were
adopting different points of view and opinions. Communists were
debating with communists.

This was an outcome of circumstances but in fact it was very

1) There was no line.
2) The Centre could in any event not have given a line not having
the necessary information.
3) The other members of the committe who were not communists never
felt that there was a preset agenda decided elsewhere.

I remember on another ocassion the SACP centre decided on a line
of action. However before embarking upon it they consulted their
allies in the ANC and SACTU. The ANC were not very happy so the
Party decided to put the decision on the back burner.

The greatest value of the party lies in two directions.

1) In SACTU and the ANC, many of the most active and dedicated and
hardworking people are communists. How many time have I heard it
said you know you are  agood fellow in spite of being a communist.
Very often is is because the comrade is a communist.

2) With an understanding of how society works and having a
philosophy ( with all it's inperfections and faults) the SACP has
been able to contribute very significantly to the understanding of
how to struggle.

 Circumstances alter cases. On the battlefield in the Kursk Bulge
 the balance between the centre and the troops is different from
 the situation on the stage in the Bolshoi or the laboratory in
 NovoSiberisk. Or rather it ought to have been.

Ron Press

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